Here's what could cause a “real housing crisis”, according to surveyors

The prospect of mansion taxes and the changes to stamp duty are impacting housing sales in the run up to the general election.

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has warned that the market, which has currently steadied, could regain damaging momentum again if the serious shortage of houses is not addressed by the government.

The London housing market, which has seen falling prices in recent months, has begun to steady. According to RICS, 13% more chartered surveyors saw prices fall over the last three months, compared to 27% more in February and 42% more in January.

But nationally, competition for housing remains intense. RICS said that the latest figures show “the supply versus demand imbalance leading to 21% more surveyors reporting a rise in house prices in March (up from 15% in February) and 15% more surveyors expecting prices to increase over the next three months compared with 10% in February.”

Surveyors are concerned that the government is failing to make inroads in dealing with the housing market at large.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: “Across the UK, the boost that was given to the housing market by the Help to Buy scheme has begun to dissipate and activity levels have slipped back.

“Even more worrying are the tentative signs that price momentum could be set to pick-up once again as the supply of stock to the market continues to fall. Anecdotal evidence does suggest that election uncertainty may be having some impact on the market, but underlying the trends visible in the latest survey is a very real housing crisis which will urgently need to be addressed by the next government.”

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